We could cry about the state of our state, but it feels so much better to laugh.
Thank goodness, then, that we have the Arizona Legislature, which has proved there is only so much time and energy Arizonans can spend thinking about the budget and other pressing issues.
After all, the Legislature is the only place where a person - in this case, our very own Al Melvin - can connect nuclear-fuel recycling with funding for public education.
Yes, that is a proposed law. No, it's probably not going anywhere. But then again, this is the Arizona Legislature; meaning if Melvin can somehow link nuclear-fuel recycling to either guns or illegal immigration, his bill just might sail through. Back to work, Captain Al!
This year's legislative session has featured about 1,300 bills - albeit with duplicates between the House and the Senate - and some of them aren't totally outrageous. For example, we have a bill that would regulate the sale of "bulk merchandise containers." This law would limit recycling companies from buying no more than 10 plastic or wooden pallets, not to mention bakery trays, at any given time. Clearly, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Bob Robson, has failed to see the immigration tie-in here.
Other proposed laws include keeping charter schools out of age-restricted communities (an emergency measure), allowing school districts to have eighth-grade graduations; and charging electric vehicles one cent for every mile driven on the highway - even though no one knows how that would be enforced.
Tracking this kind of dubious legislation is fun for a while, but in the end it fills you with heartburn and disappointment. What do I mean by this? We've elected people who have crafted a birther bill.
This would be the appropriate time to sigh, but the Legislature is working on a bill outlawing sighing over laws drafted by conservatives. It's called "Freedom to Celebrate the Legislature."
So with that said, instead of talking about the budget, or education cuts today, I've decided to make like the Legislature and focus on other things. Let's celebrate the 2011 legislative session:
Sticking it to the feds
With her "Freedom to Breathe" laws, Sen. Sylvia Allen, the queen of Snowflake, has garnered most of the attention in this category for fighting to keep Arizona's air safe from the federal Clean Air Act. This is understandable, and yet unfortunate. Allen has overshadowed other good potential laws.
For example, one bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Chester Crandell and Rep. Russ Jones, would allow the state to seize federal property through eminent domain. Another Crandell bill would require workers with federal agencies to register with sheriffs, who could then charge fees. In Arizona, this is what we call economic development.
With our commitment to liberty, Arizona has earned its Barry Goldwater street cred. Just look at our truck beds. They're filled with kids ready to be tossed to the asphalt before they get the chance to drop out of their underfunded high schools.
But when it comes to regulations that free us from regulations, our legislators might as well be a bunch of gun-toting communists.
Look no further than HB 2153, which would prohibit cities, towns and counties from requiring fire sprinklers be installed in homes. Not to be outdone, our very own Terri Proud, David Gowan and Ted Vogt sponsored a bill that would protect Arizonans from "any ambiguous rule, law or ordinance adopted by a state agency, local government or political subdivision."
Hmmmm, what lawmaking body is missing from that list?
Other fun regulations: "voluntary registration" for interior designers, beer-festival licenses for microbreweries and requiring the wiping of hard drives for digital copy machines that will be sold used.
We hate Southern Arizona
It's a legislative tradition to hate Southern Arizona, but it's not often we see a Southern Arizona lawmaker carry the torch. Enter our very own Sen. Frank Antenori who has co-sponsored legislation to essentially give Marana the sewer system county taxpayers paid for. In response, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry should turn Antenori's name into a verb. We're getting Antenoried.
And last, but not least. … Al Melvin has proposed a state poet laureate. Unpaid, of course. Since I write for a living, I thought I'd offer my services:
There once was a state Legislature
That had quite a frivolous nature
They made lots of racket
But their laws couldn't hack it
So now our state's broke.
Send in your poems, and if we get enough, we will publish them next week. Contact columnist Josh Brodesky at 573-4242 or firstname.lastname@example.org